1. Metal with skilled musicians who know their instruments inside-out
2. Metal with real meaning - their songs aren't just random rhyming words put together, but actually tell a nice story or send a message to the listeners
3. Metal with crazy solos (not always required, but it helps display your level of talent - and face it, it's awesome every time)
4. Metal that isn't made just to appeal to the brainless masses, but made because it's what the musicians want to do, and they will display their artistic music to the truly devoted fans.
5. Metal that stays true to its style, no matter what the current trend is (some deviation may be expected, but never go completely overboard or you may not be making metal at all anymore).
Real metal bands: Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Iced Earth, Emperor, Necrophagist, Rhapsody of Fire, Symphony X, Stratovarius, Edguy, Blind Guardian, and much more
Heavy Metal that is true to its meaning, lyrical content and/or sound. Is by no means, exaggerated, humorous etc. Real Heavy Metal is ofcourse loud, but that alone isin't enough to be truely 'Metal'! Using Heavy and/or Metal in lyrics or title text too much would simply ruin the feeling. Heavy Metal is NOT a substitute term for Rock or Hard Rock! You don't use Heavy Metal, like Hard Rock bands would use the word Rock ( 'I Wanna Rock', 'Let There Be Rock') that is not an attitude of a Metalhead or Metal band! Not that they disregard it, but that Heavy Metal is not really the same as Hard Rock! And Again, real Heavy Metal should flirt with sin like Judas Priest, and/or the occult like Black Sabbath, glorify freedom and touch on subject matter that is 'heavy' or just profound, meaningful and interesting like Slayer-thats what makes it 'heavy'!
Real Metal: Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Venom, Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Danzig etc.